Blogger of the month - April 2014
The time has come to share our 'Blogger of the month' for April 2014. This will be our tenth bogger of the month! It is hard to believe that almost a year has passed since we started out on our quest to discover your favourite craft bloggers. I really enjoy finding out who has been voted each month, more often than not the blogs nominated turn out to be a one I haven't stumbled across before. I find when you read and follow one blog it often leads you to others that will inspire. That is what we hope to do with our blogger of the month feature, each month adding a new one to your list.
If there is a knitting, stitching or crochet blog that you are loving at the moment (it might even be your own) please share away and nominate over on our nominations page.
On to April's blogger of the month, we are pleased to announce Crochet Concupiscence. Kathryn aka Crochet Concupiscence has answered our questions below.
How long have you been blogging? What made you decide to write a blog?
I am a professional writer who has worked in blogging for more than ten years. When I got hired for my first blog I didn’t even really know what a blog was but I rapidly found that it was a perfect medium for me. I love the immediacy and personal qualities of blogging but also take it seriously as a space to provide detailed research, unique opinions and develop my own voice.
I started Crochet Concupiscence in 2011. At the time I was doing a lot of writing work for other people that I didn’t feel inspired by and I wanted to start a new blog that would be a place of refuge for me. Crochet had become really important in my life and starting a blog about it was a great way for me to share what I was learning in the craft while connecting with a larger community of like-minded people.
What is your latest WIP (Work in progress)?
I have a few. At the beginning of the year I went through my WIP's and realized that I had a bunch of started-but-not-finished crochet blankets so I’ve been steadily working on finishing those. I just wrapped up a large granny square blanket and am now working on finishing a post stitch blanket. In the meantime, I slip in a few instant gratification projects here and there. The most recent one of those that I finished was a crochet cowl.
And my other big WIP is my next book, Hook to Heal, which will be out later this year. It’s a book of creativity exercises to help crocheters enhance their lives, relationships and health. My last book, Crochet Saved My Life, was a research and story-based book about the health benefits of crochet and this one is more of a hands-on guide to using crochet to heal.
Who taught you to crochet? What was your first ever crochet project?
When I was a little kid (maybe 8?) my mom taught me to crochet. All I remember crocheting at the time was a long chain. It got so long that I wound it around and around a rolling pin. I tried lots of different crafts when I was a kid, though, and that one didn’t stick at the time but apparently stayed lodged somewhere in my memory.
When I was in my mid-twenties and battling a deep period of depression I read somewhere that it’s beneficial to return to things that you loved as a child and for some reason crochet came to mind. My mom actually was there again, taking me to the yarn store and picking up the first supplies with me. Neither of us could really remember how to crochet, though, so I ended up getting a kids’ crochet book out of the library and re-teaching myself. The first new thing that I made was a crochet scarf that ended up being way too small because I didn’t know anything about sizing and was just following the kids’ instructions. I still have it, though, and sometimes wear it as a scarflette or a hair bow.
Do you watch TV or listen to music while you crochet?
I usually watch TV while crocheting or at least have it on in the background. I’m a fan of TV crime dramas (currently loving Perception, Elementary, Lie to Me, Hannibal, and Those Who Kill and a long time fan of the Law and Orders and Criminal Minds). I also confess to a love of really trashy reality TV (Dance Moms, Teen Mom, Catfish) and competition shows (The Voice, Project Runway, RuPaul’s Drag Race). But sometimes I put on documentaries. Or if I’m in a music mood I’ll play Spotify and usually listen to a station based on Christina Perri, Kina Grannis or Dar Williams.
Is there a knitted project that you treasure? Made by yourself or a handmade gift from a loved one?
A few years ago a woman that I really adore and consider a mentor made me a beautiful blue knit scarf. Since I don’t knit, it’s a special piece in my wardrobe, and it’s special because it came from her.
Do you have a crochet or knitting tip you would like to share?
Yarn crafting heals if you let it! Find the way that it works best for you – whether that’s meditative or functional or as a form of self-expression or as an escape from the rest of life or whatever it may be. Don’t let anyone else decide what crochet or knitting is for you. Don’t let it be a “should” in your life. Enjoy it, celebrate it and let it work it’s magic in your life.
Where do you find inspiration for a new project? E.g. online, local yarn shop etc. Do you choose the yarn or pattern first?
I almost never work from patterns. I like shopping for random yarns and buying whatever I fall in love with. (I have a ridiculously large yarn stash!) Then I just work whatever I’m feeling like working at the time. Usually I make wearables for myself (cowls, shrugs and dresses) inspired by whatever mood I’m in at the time.
Do you have a favourite crochet snack?
I rarely eat while crocheting. Which is good because I work from home and tend to be a grazer anyway so it helps to keep my hands busy and away from food when I’m not actually hungry!
What is your favourite yarn to work with? Is there a particular brand?
I have a soft spot in my heart for baby alpaca yarn bought directly from fiber farms whenever possible. I like supporting indie spinners and dyers. I also like silk bamboo blends. Anything super soft, really. As far as brand names go, Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino and the Schoppel Wolle Zauberball are my current favorites.
When yarn shopping are you always drawn to a certain colour?
Any variation or form of blue!
On your blog you have lots of fab projects. Do you have a favourite project?
Thanks. I love showcasing the work that other people are doing and there are so many great things out there that it’s way too hard to pick just one. What I most respect is people who do really beautiful work with a lot of colors. I tend to work in just a few colors at a time so I find this really different from what I do and really special. I also really, really love following the work of different crochet artists who do amazing one-of-a-kind pieces.
Do you follow other blogs? If so which blogs?
Obsessively. I follow more than 300 crochet-specific blogs through Feedly and then a handful of others in crafting and DIY. The best way to see what I’m loving most in other blogs is to follow my Saturday link love posts where I roundup all of my favorite posts from the week from all around the crochet/ craft web.
How many projects do you have on the go at one time?
It used to be only one at a time but then I started that stack of crochet blankets that never got finished so now it’s more. Usually I’ve got one blanket actually going and then one smaller project going. There are about five more blankets left in the queue and then my WIP’s stack will be clear.
What other past times do you enjoy?
I love writing and have been trying to play with more creative forms of writing recently including poetry. I love mixed media art and do a lot of collage work incorporating words and images. I like photography although I would say I’m a definitely amateur in that area. And I love attending and supporting creative things all throughout the city of San Francisco including local theatre, music shows, festivals, films, burlesque and drag shows, dance, etc.
What is your favourite item to crochet?
Large granny square blankets. So meditative. So relaxing. So healing. And so easy but you have a finished product that is really functional and gift-able.
Do you have any advice for new bloggers?
Find your own voice. There are a lot of tips out there for bloggers and it’s helpful to read through them but in the end make your blog a special place where you do and say what is really true and right and real for you.
Do you have a preference when it comes to choosing your crochet hooks?
I’m a Boye girl at heart (aluminium). I do love handcrafted beautiful crochet hooks – glass and wood especially – but I don’t find them as easy to work with.
Do you read any craft magazines?
I write a regular column for Interweave Crochet profiling Everyday Crocheters. And I just started a new column on crochet health for the digital magazine Happily Hooked. And for awhile I was a Crochet Today blogger. So I obviously like all of those magazines. But I also like Simply Crochet, Inside Crochet, Inspired Crochet, Knit Edge, Mollie Makes, Vogue Knitting and Crochetvolution.
Who do you crochet for?
Me, myself and I! No, actually I do make a lot of crochet gifts for the people in my life and I love adding crochet details to other gifts as well but I definitely crochet wearables for myself more than I crochet anything else. And that’s also for my readers since I showcase all the makes on my blog!